June 26, 2024

Sept. 27 – Dec. 15: Prix Pictet Human, the World’s Leading Award for Photography and Sustainability Travels to San Diego

Black and white photo of woman looking at self in mirror
Gauri Gill, Jannat, Barmer, 1999-ongoing. Courtesy the artist and James Cohan, New York.
Yael Martínez, Abuelo Estrella, 2021. Courtesy the artist, Magnum Photos and Patricia Conde Galería, Mexico City.

SAN DIEGO, CA. (June 2024) – The San Diego Museum of Art (SDMA) is pleased to welcome Prix Pictet Human, the latest exhibition from the world’s leading award for photography and sustainability, to the Museum of Photographic Arts at The San Diego Museum of Art (MOPA@SDMA) galleries, the only US stop on the international tour of Prix Pictet Human. The exhibition will be on view from September 27 through December 15, 2024, at MOPA@SDMA in Balboa Park.

The Prix Pictet Award was founded in 2008 by the Pictet Group with the goal of harnessing the power of photography to draw attention to the critical issue of global sustainability. There have been 10 cycles of the Prix Pictet award, each with its own theme highlighting a particular facet of sustainability.

The current cycle, Prix Pictet Human, showcases the work of 12 outstanding photographers shortlisted for the tenth cycle of the award. Their work constitutes a powerful exploration of the various facets of the theme Human. In their own unique way, each of the shortlisted photographers explores our shared humanity and the vast spectrum of our interactions with the world. The shortlisted portfolios span documentary, portraiture, landscape, and studies of light and process, and explore issues ranging from the plight of Indigenous peoples, conflict, childhood, the collapse of economic processes, to the traces of human habitation and industrial development, gang violence, border lands, and migration. Their work evaluates our role as stewards of the planet and sheds light on the critical issues of global sustainability, the central concern of The Prix Pictet since its inception 15 years ago.

“We are honored to welcome Prix Pictet to MOPA@SDMA for the third time and as the only US venue of the Prix Pictet Human exhibition tour,” said Roxana Velásquez, Executive Director and CEO at The San Diego Museum of Art. “The thought-provoking photography in this show shares important messages and inspiration. We hope all will come to see this important and timely exhibition.”

“We are delighted to present the outstanding work of the cycle’s 12 shortlisted artists in San Diego,” said Isabelle Von Ribbentrop, Executive Director at Prix Pictet. “For over a decade, our mission at Prix Pictet has been to showcase the best of global photography, focusing on the urgent topic of sustainability. This is a value we share with The San Diego Museum of Art. The opportunity to tour and share this work with the public in America is a privilege for us, and we hope this exhibition will be a powerful reminder of the urgency of the climate crisis.”

At a ceremony at the Victoria & Albert Museum in September 2023 that kicked off the international tour of Prix Pictet Human, Indian photographer Gauri Gill was announced as the winner of Prix Pictet Human, receiving the prize of 100,000 Swiss francs. Gill was selected from the shortlist of 12 photographers by the prize’s independent jury.

Gill’s work emphasizes her belief in working with and through community in what she calls “active listening.” For more than two decades, she has been closely engaged with communities in the desert of western Rajasthan, Northern India and for the last decade with Indigenous artists in Maharashtra.

At the close of the exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum, Colombian photographer Federico Ríos Escobar was announced as the winner of the inaugural Prix Pictet People’s Choice Award, receiving the prize of 10,000 Swiss francs. Ríos Escobar’s poignant work captures the heart-wrenching realities of South American children whose parents have embarked on the perilous migrant journey through the treacherous Darién Gap, a near-impassable stretch of jungle on the Colombia-Panama border. The People’s Choice Award was introduced to allow the public to vote for their favorite shortlisted series and to create further dialogue around the vital issues the Prix Pictet explores.

The shortlisted photographers are:

  • Hoda Afshar, Iran
  • Gera Artemova, Ukraine
  • Ragnar Axelsson, Iceland
  • Alessandro Cinque, Italy/Peru
  • Siân Davey, UK
  • Federico Ríos Escobar, Colombia
  • Gauri Gill, India
  • Michał Łuczak, Poland
  • Yael Martínez, Mexico
  • Richard Renaldi, US
  • Vanessa Winship, UK/Bulgaria
  • Vasantha Yogananthan, France

About the Artists: For more than 40 years, Ragnar Axelsson has charted the dramatic changes in the lives of the Indigenous people, landscapes, and environments on the fringes of the habitable world. A concern for the lives and disappearing homelands of the Indigenous people of the Andes mountains informs the work of Alessandro Cinque. Gauri Gill spent more than two decades photographing the joy, pain, and tenderness woven into the fabric of some of those who eke out a living in the remote desert region of Rajasthan, India. Federico Ríos Escobar provides agonized glimpses of South American children whose parents have elected to join the hazardous migrant voyage through the almost impassable stretch of jungle on the Colombia–Panama border known as the Darién Gap. Michał Łuczak documents the indelible marks the once-great mining industry has left on the landscape of Upper Silesia, Poland. Gera Artemova’s visual diary opens with the Russian bombardment of her hometown, Kyiv, Ukraine, on February 24, 2022. Vasantha Yogananthan’s work is filled with the dreams and despair of the post-Hurricane Katrina generation of children in New Orleans, USA. Vanessa Winship creates carefully composed portraits of schoolgirls from the Turkish borderlands. The strange, otherworldly Iranian islands of Hormuz, Qeshm and Hengam are the touchstone for Hoda Afshar’s work. Yael Martínez’s pierced photographs were made in the wake of the disappearance of family members, victims of the violence that is part of daily life in the Mexican state of Guerrero. Richard Renaldi and Siân Davey both focus on the garden as a place of hope and reconnection in their work, a place that serves both as a metaphor for the human heart and a potential source of harmony.

About The San Diego Museum of Art

Providing a rich and diverse cultural experience, The San Diego Museum of Art houses some of the world’s finest art. Located in the heart of Balboa Park, the Museum’s internationally renowned collection of more than 32,000 works – dating from 3000 BC to present day – includes Spanish and Italian old masters, the Edwin Binney 3rd Collection of South Asian paintings, East Asian art, art from the Americas, Modern and Contemporary art, and the Museum of Photographic Arts at The San Diego Museum of Art (MOPA@SMA). The museum regularly features major exhibitions of art from around the world, as well as extensive cultural and community engagement programs for all ages. The San Diego Museum of Art hosts experiences that invite visitors to explore art through music, dance, film, food, and so much more. At the San Diego Museum of Art, exhibition text is always in English and Spanish.

The Museum of Photographic Arts at The San Diego Museum of Art (MOPA@SDMA), a distinct gallery space also located in Balboa Park, brings an outstanding collection of photography, film, and new media to the community.

About the Prix Pictet

The Prix Pictet is the world’s leading award for photography and sustainability. It was founded in 2008 by the Pictet Group with the goal of harnessing the power of photography to draw global attention to critical environmental issues. To date, there have been ten cycles of the award, each with its own theme highlighting a particular facet of sustainability.

Entry is through nomination. The Prix Pictet maintains a global network of over 300 nominators, who include critics, curators, and other specialists in the visual arts. Since the Prix Pictet’s inception, more than 5,000 photographers have been nominated, all of whose work in one way or another testifies to the fragile state of our planet.

An independent jury selects a winner, who receives a prize of 100,000 Swiss francs.

The Prix Pictet has staged over 120 exhibitions of work by nominated artists in more than forty-five cities globally.

The nine previous winners are: Benoit Aquin (Water, 2008), Nadav Kander (Earth, 2009–10), Mitch Epstein (Growth, 2011), Luc Delahaye (Power, 2012–13), Michael Schmidt (Consumption, 2014), Valérie Belin (Disorder, 2015–16), Richard Mosse (Space, 2017–18), Joana Choumali (Hope, 2019–20) and Sally Mann (Fire, 2021–22).

Find out more about the Prix Pictet at: www.prixpictet.com